The way we talk about mental health plays a huge part in shaping our attitudes towards it. Alongside providing support to any individual in need, here at Middlesbrough and Stockton mind it is incredibly important to us to continue to raise awareness of mental health and the increasing need for support. It is wonderful to think how far we have moved over the past twenty years. Attitudes have changed and opinions developed, however we are fully aware how far we have left to go.
This week we’ve been talking about the specific language we use to discuss mental health. Of course this is not to say we are policing what language we should use, we have simply noticed a delicate change over the past few years, a wonderful indication proving that attitudes are changing. An interesting turn of phrase we often used to hear went along the lines of, ‘are you suffering ‘with’ mental health?’. Of course, as a greater amount of people came to understand more about mental health, this phrasing has faded away. We do not suffer ‘with mental health’, as we would not state we suffer ‘with physical health’.
We all have mental and physical health in different states of well being. Mental health, just like physical health, needs to be cared for, looked after and treated when in need. There is no difference. It’s these changes in the way we talk about mental health that continue to demonstrate how attitudes, opinions and understandings are changing. It’s wonderful.
Of course we do not write this to discuss censorship issues, or in a hope of policing the language used when discussing mental health. Everyone is free to discuss mental health how they choose, but the discussions we see online and across the media have noticeably changed over the last twenty to thirty years.
The wide range of support available today is so pleasing to see. So today we are looking to the past, reflecting on how far we have come and to the future, to how far we can and need to go.